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Tag: Jack Abramoff

Lobbyist Indictment Reminder of the Ugly Side of Washington

Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It was TV mobster Tony Soprano who once muttered: “‘I dunno about morals, but I do got rules.’

Certainly the same could be said for some of the politicians and lobbyists on the Capitol Hill, who never seem to let us down when it comes to perpetuating the unsavory stereotypes of official Washington.

The latest reminder of all of this came Thursday when the feds in Alexandria, Va., indicted Paul J. Magliocchetti, a powerful ex-lobbyist, who is accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in “laundered campaign contributions to lawmakers, using straw donors and other illicit means to disguise the source of the money,” the New York Times reported. He ran the now defunct PMA Group.

The Times said the indictment of Magliocchetti, a protege of the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), could open the door for the ex-lobbyist to provide evidence against crooked members of Congress.

Could this be the makings of another Jack Abramoff scandal?

Abramoff’s Crimes Weren’t Kosher, But the New Gig Is

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is finishing off his prison term in a halfway house in Maryland, has got a new gig: It’s with a kosher pizza joint in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Jewish Times reports that he is working at Tov Pizza with owner Ron Rosenbluth “in almost all areas of the restaurant business, with perhaps a focus on marketing strategies.”

Abramoff ran some restaurants in D.C. including a kosher deli called Stacks, that was ironically or not, in very close proximity to FBI headquarters on Pennyslvania Avenue NW. He went off to prison in 2006 for fraud, conspiracy and corruption charges.

The paper said Abramoff will work at Tov Pizza for at least six months. His release date is Dec. 4.

Crooked Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Released to Halfway House

“Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.” Ray Charles, 1961.

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who epitomized all that was wrong with official Washington, is close to seeing daylight.

The Associated Press reported that Abramoff, 51, was released Tuesday from a minimum-security federal prison in Cumberland, Md, and sent to a halfway house in that state to finish off his sentence for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. He went off to prison in 2006.

He is set to be free on Dec. 4, AP reported.

Abramoff cooperated in a multi-year Justice Department investigation into public corruption that resulted in convictions of ex-Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), ex-deputy interior Secretary J. Steven Griles and several Capitol Hill aides, AP reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

The Ghost of Crooked Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Rears its Head: Another Guilty Plea

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The ghost of crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff continues to rear its head in this town which once treated him as a king — that is before he became radioactive and went off to prison.

The latest came Wednesday when Horace M. Cooper, 44, of Lorton, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to taking gifts from lobbyists Abramoff and Neil G. Volz, who had clients with business before the Department of Labor where Cooper was chief of staff for Employment Standards Administration from 2002 to 2005.

Cooper admitted concealing the gifts — sports and concert tickets and dinners — from the Labor ethics officials and his supervisors.

Authorities say Cooper also admitted that he lied to the FBI and a grand jury about the gifts and his relationship with the lobbyists. He faces up to one year in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine when sentenced.

To date, 19 people including lobbyists and public officials have pleaded guilty, were convicted or are awaiting trial in connection with the shady activities of Abramoff and his associates, the Justice Department said.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services fraud and tax evasion and is serving a four year sentence. Volz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and was sentenced in 2007 to tow years probation.

Appeals Court Ruling Could Spell Trouble For Probes of Congress Members

Details of the ruling have not been released, but it appears it has potential to create more problems for investigators looking at public corruption cases involving members of Congress.  Lately, this issue seems to be a recurring one in FBI probes involving  Congressional members.

Ex-Rep. Tom Feeney

Ex-Rep. Tom Feeney

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has dealt a blow to the investigation of a former congressman in a ruling that could also limit probes of other lawmakers, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The order, which has not been made public, came during the grand jury investigation of former Representative Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) and his potential ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the sources said. The appellate judges who issued the ruling did not say when they would release an opinion explaining their decision, which reversed a lower court order favorable to prosecutors seeking documents and grand jury testimony, the sources said.
Even without knowing the details of the ruling, sources and legal experts said it is important because it is the second time in two years that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has sided with Congress in its fight with the Justice Department over what protections lawmakers are granted under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause. The clause is designed to shield lawmakers’ official work from executive branch interference and has been increasingly cited by members of Congress under federal investigation.

For Full Story

Deputy For Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Pleads Guilty

The ghost of Jack Abramoff continues to cast a cloud over this wheeling-and-dealing city. He was the poster boy of the ugly side of Washington. Here’s the latest fruits of his labor.

By NEDRA PICKLER
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A former deputy to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty Friday to lavishing congressional staffers with gifts including an all-expense paid trip to the World Series, box seats at concerts and fancy restaurant tabs.
Todd Boulanger admitted to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts that he provided tens of thousands of dollars worth of entertainment to Capitol Hill aides who could help him get legislation favorable to his clients. Sometimes, he said, he concealed their identities in expense reports to try to keep them from being exposed for violating gift bans.
Boulanger, 37, could have faced up to 5 years in prison, but under terms of his plea deal prosecutors recommended that he get 18-24 months with reduced time if he continues to cooperate in the investigation. A sentencing date has not been set and he was released without bail.

For Full Story

Who Will Bush Pardon at Last Moment?

You just know President Bush will pardon some big names just before he exits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The question now is simply Who?

By Scott Horton
The American Lawyer

For George Washington there was an obvious time for potentially controversial pardons, and that was the day he left office. Washington pardoned the instigators of the Whiskey Rebellion as his last official act. He had good reason to keep a low profile. The Federalists hated the decision. They thought it would fuel uprisings by moonshine-swilling frontiersmen-and they were right.
The tradition of controversial pardons has continued ever since. Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon remains the benchmark, but George H.W. Bush’s pardon of 75 people caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal and Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive billionaire and presidential library supporter Marc Rich register high on the scale.
Ironically, the Rich pardon was engineered by two people very much in the news. One is Scooter Libby, who was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Dechert at the time. Libby, of course, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame affair. His sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush; he is now seeking an extension of that commutation to a full-blown pardon.
The other is Attorney General-designate Eric Holder Jr., who served as deputy attorney general in the last days of the Clinton presidency and pushed the Rich pardon. Holder antici­pates embarrassing questioning on the pardon issue when his nomination comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but at present it doesn’t look like a show-stopper.
For Full Story